With the growing popularity of women’s MMA, it is important to recognize these women with a rankings system similar to the men. Between the UFC’s inclusion of a bantamweight division, its recent addition of a strawweight division and the all-female promotion of Invicta FC, more and more women are being exposed to casual and hardcore fans alike. Every month, Combat Press compiles the staff’s individual rankings from lightweight to atomweight to create the Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings.

Lightweight Division (155 pounds)
  1. Charmaine Tweet (1)
  2. Jozette Cotton (2)
  3. Lissette Neri (3)
  4. Bobbi-Jo Dalziel (4)
  5. Michelle Young (5)
  6. Tierra Arnold (6)
  7. Ida Ruiten (7)
  8. Jennifer Johnston (8)
  9. Lisa McCallam (9)
  10. Charlene Donahue (10)
  11. Katharina Albinus (11)
  12. Jessica Halverson (12)
  13. Anna Barone (13)
  14. Jessica Hoy (14)
  15. Jessica Eve Richter (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

As has become the norm lately, there is not much to report out of the lightweight division. It’s a division shallow with talent, and fights come few and far between. No top-15 females competed in July. There’s not much on the horizon either. Lissette Neri will compete at 145 pounds, which may take her out of the rankings. She has inked with Bellator and will fight Adrienna “AJ” Jenkins at Bellator 141 in August. Charmaine Tweet, the top 155-pounder, is usually the most active of the fighters here, so perhaps she will have a fight booked in the near future.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)
  1. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Latoya Walker (4)
  5. Talita Nogueira (5)
  6. Annalisa Bucci (6)
  7. Faith Van Duin (7)
  8. Arlene Blencowe (8)
  9. Robert Rovel (9)
  10. Amanda Bell (10)
  11. Peggy Morgan (11)
  12. Maria Hougaard Djursaa (12)
  13. Jessy Miele (13)
  14. Daria Ibragimova (14)
  15. Andria Wawro (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The biggest star of the division continued to let her star shine bright in July. That’s right, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino did it again when she defended her Invicta featherweight championship in violent fashion by knocking out Faith Van Duin. Fans continue to beg for a showdown between Cyborg and bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey, but Justino has to prove she can make the weight. Formerly ranked Marina Shafir found herself bumped even further down the rankings when she was quickly dismantled by pro debutant Amber Leibrock. It just goes to show that the featherweight division is becoming increasingly competitive.



Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Ronda Rousey (1)
  2. Miesha Tate (3)
  3. Cat Zingano (2)
  4. Sara McMann (4)
  5. Alexis Davis (5)
  6. Jessica Eye (6)
  7. Sarah Kaufman (7)
  8. Liz Carmouche (8)
  9. Tonya Evinger (13)
  10. Lauren Murphy (9)
  11. Holly Holm (10)
  12. Bethe Correia (12)
  13. Amanda Nunes (11)
  14. Germaine de Randamie (15)
  15. Pannie Kianzad (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Marion Reneau (14)

The bantamweight division is a crazy division with much movement, and that was somewhat exemplified in the month of July. Miesha Tate moved past Cat Zingano for the No. 2 spot when she earned a hard-fought unanimous decision over sixth-ranked Jessica Eye. Tate started slow, but she picked up the pace to thoroughly outwork the scrappy Cleveland native. The biggest move of the month came from Tonya Evinger, who not only earned the Invicta bantamweight championship in a dominant win over Irene Aldana, but moved into the top 10 with the victory. Her drastic improvements go to show that even longtime vets can improve late in their careers. Holly Holm also scored a win in July. The decorated boxer knocked Marion Reneau out of the top 15. In Reneau’s place comes Pannie Kianzad, who, on the same Invicta card as Evinger, scored a dominant decision win over Jessy-Rose “Jessy Jess” Clark. In August, there will be a huge main event at UFC 190, where top-ranked Ronda Rousey defends her UFC title against Bethe Correia in Brazil. It’s a grudge match that has gotten super personal, so it should be an interesting one to tune into this Saturday. Also, Sara McMann looks to get back in the win column when she meets up with Amanda Nunes in Nashville. Those two fights should have a lot to do with the impending shakeup of the bantamweight division.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Jennifer Maia (3)
  4. Roxanne Modafferi (4)
  5. Zoila Frausto (5)
  6. Julia Berezikova (6)
  7. Munah Holland (7)
  8. Aline Serio (8)
  9. Brenda Gonzales (9)
  10. Reina Cordoba (10)
  11. Silvana Gomez Juarez (11)
  12. Emily Corso (12)
  13. Takayo Hashi (13)
  14. Mariana Morais (14)
  15. Tara LaRosa (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The flyweight division was quite calm in the month of July, as none of the top-15 females were in action. It’s easy to see why: a bunch of 125-pounders have moved to either 135 or 115 in search of a UFC contract. Unfortunately, as of right now, the flyweight division will stay quiet next month. Other than Takayo Hashi, who has an upcoming fight in Japan (allegedly at 135 pounds), nobody else has a fight. That means the rankings should remain identical next month.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (1)
  2. Jessica Aguilar (2)
  3. Carla Esparza (3)
  4. Claudia Gadelha (4)
  5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5)
  6. Maryna Moroz (7)
  7. DeAnna Bennett (6)
  8. Livia Renata Souza (8)
  9. Joanne Calderwood (9)
  10. Rose Namajunas (10)
  11. Jessica Penne (11)
  12. Randa Markos (12)
  13. Alexa Grasso (15)
  14. Michelle Waterson (NR)
  15. Katja Kankaanpää (13)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Tecia Torres (14)

The strawweights were pretty quiet in July, but there was one major fight that brought back some glimmer to the star of a fallen fighter. Joanne Calderwood got back in the win column by beating Cortney Casey in Scotland. It was highlighted by a slow start that turned into a dominant win that also netted Calderwood “Fight of the Night” honors. It’s a huge win that reverses Calderwood’s devastating title-eliminator loss to Maryna Moroz earlier this year in Poland. Debuting in the strawweight divisional rankings is Michelle Waterson, who was formerly ranked at atomweight. She dismantled Angela Magana in her UFC debut, showing she belongs in the world’s biggest promotion. In August, there will be a fight that probably determines UFC champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s next opponent. The contest in question features the debut of former World Series of Fighting champ Jessica Aguilar against top Brazilian Claudia Gadelha. It’s one of the most important female MMA bouts this year, and it takes place the same night as Rousey-Correia. Also in August, the aforementioned Moroz returns to action for the first time since upending Calderwood. She takes on Valerie Letourneau in Canada. It should be a fun month for the 115-pound division.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (3)
  2. Herica Tiburcio (1)
  3. Naho Sugiyama (4)
  4. Amber Brown (7)
  5. Jodie Esquibel (5)
  6. Cassie Rodish (6)
  7. Sadae Numata (8)
  8. Janaisa Morandin (10)
  9. Jinh Yu Frey (9)
  10. Liz McCarthy (12)
  11. Satako Shinashi (13)
  12. Mei Yamaguchi (14)
  13. Simona Soukupova (15)
  14. Catherine Costigan (11)
  15. Julia Jones (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Michelle Waterson (2)

The atomweight division was actually pretty busy in the month of July, especially with the help of Invicta. The most important move of the month came at the top of the division, where Ayaka Hamasaki took the Invicta belt from Herica Tiburcio and also claimed the top ranking in the division. It was a great performance that broke the tradition of Japanese fighters coming up short in title bouts in North America. Meanwhile, a big name left the division. Michelle Waterson departed the weight class to compete in the UFC strawweight division. Amber Brown derailed the hype train that was Catherine Costigan at Invicta FC 13. Brown quickly finished the Irish fighter in impressive fashion. Satako Shinashi won yet again, making her comeback from a layoff a successful one thus far. Next month, things look quiet for the 105-pound division.

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. His work has also appeared on The MMA Corner. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.

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